top of page
  • Talma Gotteiner

The Jerusalem Ballet Company Presents "Memento"

Hi there,

The Jerusalem Ballet Company has prepared a unique ballet show commemorating the holocaust through a recreation of the last dance in Auschwitz by Franceska Mann, the famous Jewish ballerina from Poland.

"Memento" Choreography: Nadya Timofeyeva, Artistic Director of the Jerusalem Ballet Research & libretto: Michael Sadovsky (Russia) & Nadya Timofeyeva Music: Maurice Ravel, Isak Schwartz (Russia) and more Design: Yana Polonsky Costume design: Nadya Timofeyeva and Yana Polonsky

WHEN: September 1st, 2019 - The Suzanne Dellal Center, Tel Aviv, at 21:00 September 7th, 2019 - Rebecca Crown Hall, Jerusalem Theater, at 21:00

Memento is dedicated to the memory of the Jewish dancer Francesca Mann, who was murdered in Auschwitz. In a series of photographs, Nadya Timofeyeva tells Francesca's fascinating life story. From the beginning of her days on stage, life in lively Warsaw and with the Mann family, the Nazi invasion of Warsaw and life in the ghetto until the death of the heroine in the death camp.

The Jerusalem Ballet Company Presents Memento

Photography Credit: Leonid Kharchenko

It is an exciting piece by the choreographer Nadya Timofeyeva, who brings to the stage an unfamiliar life story from that time of war, connected to the world of dance. Through dance, the audience is exposed to the character of the special dancer, and the story of her life and death.

The show includes 12 dancers from the band's previous performances: Taming the Shrew (2017) and Fiddler on the Roof (2018). Both performances received enthusiastic reviews from critics of dance and theater and the audience's applause throughout the country.

Nadya Timofeyeva invited Adam Greenfeld, an IDF disabled soldier in a wheelchair, to play the character of the heroine's father. Adam Greenfeld has a lot of experience in special projects in the field of dance, and has won a number of special competitions.

The soundtrack of the performance consists of a number of works, including the work of Maurice Ravel, "Yellow Stars," by Isaac Schwartz (Russia) and others.

Timofeyeva, a ballerina in the past, examines this work as a choreographer about how a ballet dancer, a young woman, becomes a tough warrior. According to her, Mann's character developed over the years in Sisyphean tasks including overcoming physical pains in order to achieve her goal to be a professional ballerina. The story of Franceska Mann is one of the most amazing and moving stories that have not been exposed to the public at large in Israel and abroad. The decision to create this show came to Timofeyeva following the many antisemitic incidents around the world today that repeatedly raised the subject of the Holocaust and kept it as an open wound that is constantly present in Israeli society.

The Jerusalem Ballet Company Presents Memento

Photography Credit: Avi Lusky

About the Ballerina Franceska Mann: Franceska Mann was born in Warsaw in 1917 to a Jewish family. She became interested in dance at an early age and studied with the best teachers in Poland. Mann was energetic, ambitious and diligent, and was considered one of the most beautiful and promising ballet dancers in Dora in Poland, both in the classical repertoire and in the modern. At the age of 22 she won fourth place in an international competition in Brussels, in which the best young dancers from the world took part. She appeared at the Pamina club, and at the beginning of World War II worked as a dancer in the famous Melody Palace club until she was not allowed to dance after being transferred to the Warsaw ghetto. On October 23, 1943 she was shot to death in the Auschwitz death camp.

Before her death she was transferred to a separate compound with 1,700 Polish Jews with foreign passports. They were told that they were being taken to a small transit camp called Bergau near Dresden where they would be replaced by German prisoners of war, and that they would continue to Switzerland. They were then taken to the locker room next to the gas chamber (crematorium II) and ordered to undress.

There are two versions of what later happened to Franceska Mann. Nadya Timofeyeva was very impressed by Mann's tragic story and decided to make a special show about the story of her life. Timofeyeva chose one of the versions, according to which when Mann began to undress slowly, in seductive dance movements the Nazi officers stood confused. Mann approached one of the officers and seemed to dance for him. At the same time, she attacked him, grabbed his weapon and fired three shots at him, from which two Nazi officers were wounded. This incident, in which a female prisoner was shot by two guards, is one of the most unusual acts of resistance in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

About the choreographer Nadya Timofeyeva: Timofeyeva graduated from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow. At the end of her studies she was invited to join as the principal soloist of the Kremlin Theater where she began her career as Lady Macbeth, created years earlier by composer Kirill Molchanov and choreographer Vladimir Vasilyev for her mother, the prima ballerina, and Nina Timofeyeva.

In 1992, a year after her arrival in Israel, Nadya Timofeyeva won the first prize in the Maya Arbatova Ballet Competition. At the same time, she taught ballet, among others, at the Rubin Academy of Music and Dance in Jerusalem, where she also served as her mother's assistant, and from 2004 to 2006 Nadya danced as a soloist in Valery Panov's band in Ashdod.

In 2004, she co-founded with her mother Nina Timofeyeva, a legendary prima ballerina of the 20th century, the Jerusalem Ballet School, where she taught and performed. Since 2006, with the retirement of Nina Timofeyeva, Nadya has taken over the artistic management of the school alongside teaching.

In 2008 she co-founded the Jerusalem Ballet Company with Marina Nieman, CEO, where she danced as a soloist until 2012, and for which she has also created many choreographic works over the years. Currently, Nadya Timofeyeva is the artistic director of the school and ballet group. In 2014, Timofeyeva was awarded the Yuri Shtern Ministry of Aliyah and Integration Award for excellence and achievements in the field of culture that have a special contribution to Israeli society and culture.

Over the past decade, she had created performances and compositions in the field of neo-classical and contemporary ballet:

"The shepherdess and the chimney sweep" according to Andersen's legend for youth and children, "Manfred" based on Lord Byron's poem, "Allegory" based on the poem by Dante Alighieri, "Puzzle", "The Last Meeting", Classical-Concert and more. Timofeyeva's works have been shown at various festivals in Israel and abroad, in international and local competitions.

About the Jerusalem Ballet Company: Last year, the Jerusalem Ballet celebrated its 10th anniversary. The Jerusalem Ballet has positioned itself as a prominent body in the cultural mosaic of Jerusalem - a young and high-quality body in the field of classic ballet, neoclassical and contemporary dance.

In 2008, the band was founded by the artistic director Nadya Timofeyeva and the CEO, Marina Nieman, and is based on dancers who graduated from the Jerusalem Ballet School as well as dancers from all over the country and is supported by the Ministry of Culture and Sport and the Jerusalem Municipality's Culture Department.

In its ten years of existence, the Jerusalem Ballet has performed several shows in varied and rich programs. The Jerusalem Ballet premieres were performed at various festivals and at the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv. Among these performances were the works of young Israeli artists in the field of contemporary ballet. The band's performances have received wide national acclaim and flattering reviews. In recent years, several young and talented dancers, graduates of the Jerusalem Nina Timofeyeva School of Ballet (founder of the school), have been exposed to the Jerusalem Ballet, and within a short time they have won national and international competitions. In June 2017, the Jerusalem Ballet Company participated in the Ekaterina Maximova International Festival, the legendary ballerina of the 20th century, and received enthusiastic acclaim from critics and professionals as well as enthusiastic applause from the audience.

In the same year, the Jerusalem Ballet hosted a gala evening with the participation of world ballet stars in memory of Nina Timofeyeva, founder of the Jerusalem Ballet School and former prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Theater. The performance and hosting of the world's leading ballet artists was made possible thanks to the support of the Jerusalem Development Authority (RDA). That same year the new show "Taming the Shrew," based on Shakespeare's comedy, was raised with great success. In 2018, the performance of the band's "Fiddler on the Roof" was also celebrated throughout the country with great success.

Best, Talma

P.S. You can see some of my related trip posts in the strip below. Also, if you're interested in travel-related offers, you're welcome to view my 'best deals' page. Subscribers also have 'members only' benefits such as my updated events bulletin. To subscribe go here.

Disclaimer: The blog may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through these links, I will receive a small percentage of the profits at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting


bottom of page